Monday, February 11, 2008

Where Obama Stands: On the Economy

"Where Obama Stands" is a series of posts highlighting Obama's innovative approaches to challenge the status quo and get results on the issues that matter most to Americans. For a full list of Senator Obama's detailed policy positions, check out and/or download Obama's complete booklet of policy positions, "(PDF)The Blueprint for Change." We are also looking for your feedback and suggestions on the issues; if you want to share your ideas, please submit your thoughts through our MyPolicy page.

“I believe that America’s free market has been the engine of America’s great progress. It’s created a prosperity that is the envy of the world. It’s led to a standard of living unmatched in history. And it has provided great rewards to the innovators and risk-takers who have made America a beacon for science, and technology, and discovery…We are all in this together. From CEOs to shareholders, from financiers to factory workers, we all have a stake in each other’s success because the more Americans prosper, the more America prospers.”

— Barack Obama, New York, NY, September 17, 2007

Barack Obama's Plan

As president, Barack Obama will implement a 21st century economic agenda to help ensure that America can compete in a global economy, and ensure the middle class is thriving and growing. He will increase investments in infrastructure, energy independence, education, and research and development; modernize and simplify our tax code so it provides greater opportunity and relief to more Americans; and implement trade policies that benefit American workers and increase the export of American goods.
Tax Fairness for the Middle Class

* Provide a “Making Work Pay” Tax Cut for America's Working Families: The American people work longer and harder than those in any other wealthy nation in the world. But their hours are getting longer and their wages aren't getting any higher. In addition they are being squeezed by rising health care, education and energy costs. Rather than relieving the burden on working families, the current administration has provided tax cut after tax cut to the wealthiest Americans and enacted tax breaks for the most well-connected corporations. Barack Obama will restore fairness to the tax code and provide 150 million workers the tax relief they deserve. Obama will create a new “Making Work Pay” tax credit of up to $500 per person, or $1,000 per working family. This refundable income tax credit will provide direct relief to American families who face the regressive payroll tax system. It will offset the payroll tax on the first $8,100 of their earnings while still preserving the important principle of a dedicated revenue source for Social Security. The “Making Work Pay” tax credit will completely eliminate income taxes for 10 million Americans. The tax credit will also provide relief to self-employed small business owners who struggle to pay both the employee and employer portion of the payroll tax. The “Making Work Pay” tax credit offsets some of this self-employment tax as well.

* Create a Universal Mortgage Credit: Owning a home is the culmination of the American dream for so many Americans. The tax code is supposed to encourage home ownership with a mortgage interest deduction, but it goes only to people who itemize their tax deductions. Like so much in our tax code, this tilts the scales toward the well-off. The current mortgage interest deduction excludes nearly two-thirds of Americans who do not itemize their taxes. Barack Obama will ensure that anyone with a mortgage, not just the well-off, can take advantage of this tax incentive for homeownership by creating a universal mortgage credit. This 10 percent credit will benefit an additional 10 million homeowners, the majority of whom earn less than $50,000 per year. Non-itemizers will be eligible for this refundable credit, which will provide the average recipient with approximately $500 per year in tax savings. This tax credit will also help homeowners deal with the uncertain state of the housing market today.

* Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit: In the Illinois State Senate, Obama led the successful effort to create the $100 million Illinois Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). As president, Obama will reward work by increasing the number of working parents eligible for EITC benefits, increasing the benefit available to parents who support their children through child support payments, increasing the benefit for families with three or more children and reducing the EITC marriage penalty which hurts low-income families. Under the Obama plan, full-time workers making minimum wage would get an EITC benefit up to $555, more than three times greater than the $175 benefit they get today. If the workers are responsibly supporting their children on child support, the Obama plan would give those workers a benefit of $1,110. The Obama plan would also increase the EITC benefit for those families that are most likely to be in poverty &endash; families with three or more children.

* Eliminate Income Taxes for Seniors Making Less Than $50,000:

Since the New Deal we’ve had a basic understanding in America: If you work hard and pay into the system, you’ve earned the right to a secure retirement. But too many seniors aren’t getting that security, even though they’ve held up their end of the bargain. Lower and middle income seniors are struggling as their expenses on health and energy skyrocket while their incomes do not keep pace. This strain has been greater since 1993, when taxes on social security benefits were raised. Millions of seniors saw their net benefits go down.

Seniors also had to take on the added strain – and sometimes cost – of filing a complicated tax return. And after going through all of these complicated calculations, many seniors find that they owe little or no tax, meaning that all of the hassle was for naught.

Barack Obama will eliminate all income taxation of seniors making less than $50,000 per year. This will eliminate any income tax for nearly seven million seniors at a savings of roughly $1,400 each year. For many seniors, this will eliminate the need to hire a tax preparer, resulting in even larger savings.
* Enable Millions of Americans to Complete Tax Returns in 5 Minutes: The tax code has become too complicated. Too many Americans have to pay for expert advice to fill out long forms and comply with complex requirements. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) estimated in 2004 that it took more than 28 hours for an individual to complete his/her tax filing, and that half of the taxpayers filing the “easy” forms ended up paying a tax preparer to do it for them. Barack Obama will dramatically simplify tax filings so that millions of Americans will be able to do their taxes in less than 5 minutes. Currently, the IRS receives Americans’ financial information directly from employers and banks. Obama will ensure that the IRS uses this information to give taxpayers the option of a pre-filled tax forms to verify, sign and return to the IRS or online. This will eliminate the need for Americans to hire expensive tax preparers and to gather information that the federal government already has on file. Experts estimate that the Obama proposal will save Americans up to 200 million total hours of work and aggravation and up to $2 billion in tax preparer fees.

* Create the American Opportunity Tax Credit: Barack Obama will make college affordable for all Americans by creating a new American Opportunity Tax Credit. This universal and fully refundable credit will ensure that the first $4,000 of a college education is completely free for most Americans, and will cover two-thirds the cost of tuition at the average public college or university. And by making the tax credit fully refundable, Obama’s credit will help low-income families that need it the most. Obama will also ensure that the tax credit is available to families at the time of enrollment by using prior year’s tax data to deliver the credit at the time that tuition is due, rather than a year or more later when tax returns are filed.

* Expand the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit: The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit provides too little relief to families that struggle to afford child care expenses. Currently the credit only covers up to 35 percent of the first $3,000 of child care expenses a family incurs for one child and the first $6,000 for a family with two or more children. And the credit is not refundable, which means that upper-income families disproportionately benefit while families who make under $50,000 a year receive less than a third of the tax credit. Barack Obama will reform the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit by making it refundable and allowing low-income families to receive up to a 50 percent credit for their child care expenses. Coupled with Obama’s “Making Work Pay” tax credit, this proposal will help put more money directly in the pockets of hardworking low and middle-income parents.

Click on the title of this post for the rest of Obama's plan to strengthen our economy.

Strengthen America’s Workforce

* Expand Early Childhood Education: Research shows that half of low-income children start school up to two years behind their peers in preschool skills and that these early achievement gaps continue throughout elementary school. Obama has been a champion of early childhood education since his years in the Illinois legislature, where he led the effort to create the Illinois Early Learning Council. Obama has introduced a comprehensive “Zero to Five” plan to provide critical supports to young children and their parents by investing $10 billion per year to create: Early Learning Challenge Grants to stimulate and help fund state “zero to five” efforts; quadruple the number of eligible children for Early Head Start and increase Head Start funding and improve quality for both; work to ensure all children have access to pre-school; provide affordable and high-quality child care that will promote child development and ease the burden on working families; and create a Presidential Early Learning Council to increase collaboration and program coordination across federal, state, and local levels.

* Improve Our Schools: From the moment our children step into a classroom, the single most important factor in determining their achievement is their teacher. Barack Obama values teachers and the central role that they play in education. He will work to ensure competent, effective teachers in schools that are organized for success. Obama’s K-12 plan will expand service scholarships to recruit and prepare teachers who commit to working in underserved districts. To support teachers, Obama will foster ongoing improvements in teacher education, provide mentoring for beginning teachers, create incentives for shared planning and learning time for teachers. To retain teachers, Obama will support career pathways that provide ongoing professional development and reward accomplished teachers for their expertise. This Career Ladder initiative will help eliminate teacher shortages in hard-to-staff areas and subjects, improve teacher retention rates, strengthen teacher preparation programs, improve professional development, and better utilize and reward accomplished teachers.

* Produce More Math and Science Graduates: Barack Obama believes we must strengthen math and science education to help develop a skilled workforce and promote innovation. Obama will work to increase our annual number of science and engineering graduates, encourage undergraduates studying math and sciences to pursue graduate studies, and work to increase the representation of minorities and women in the science and technology talent pipeline, tapping the diversity of America to meet the increasing demand for a skilled workforce.

For more information on Barack Obama’s education plan
Strengthen and Enforce International Trade Agreements

* Be a Tough Negotiator for Smart Trade Agreements: The process of globalization is bringing millions of people into the global economy, increasing the efficiency of resource allocation through stronger capital markets, raising productivity by putting new technologies to work, and exploiting efficiencies of integrated supply networks. But globalization also leaves some Americans behind as patterns of production change, jobs relocate, and wage pressures intensify. Barack Obama supports trade agreements that lower prices for American consumers while also opening up fair and competitive markets for the sale of American-made goods and services abroad. Obama will ensure that trade agreements include strong labor and environmental protections and that all Americans share the rewards of globalization. As president, he will lead a proactive strategy to make sure that those who lose their jobs to globalization have the tools and resources to find other work and share in the benefits of the global marketplace.

* Promote American Businesses Abroad: Trade can create wealth and drive innovation through competition. Barack Obama supports a trade policy that ensures our goods and services are treated fairly in foreign markets. At the same time, trade policy must stay consistent with our commitment to promote improved labor and environmental practices. In its first six years, the Bush Administration has filed only 16 cases to enforce its rights under WTO agreements. This compares to 68 cases filed during the first six years of the Clinton Administration. President Bush has failed to address the fact that China has engaged in ongoing currency manipulation that undercuts US exports; that China fails to enforce US copyrights and trademarks and that some of our competitors create regulatory and tax barriers to the delivery and sale of technology goods and services abroad. Barack Obama will fight for fair treatment of our companies abroad.

* Protect American Intellectual Property Abroad: The Motion Picture Association of America estimates that in 2005, more than nine of every 10 DVDs sold in China were illegal copies. The U.S. Trade Representative said 80 percent of all counterfeit products seized at U.S. borders still come from China. Barack Obama will work to ensure intellectual property is protected in foreign markets, and promote greater cooperation on international standards that allow our technologies to compete everywhere.

* Improve Transition Assistance: To help all workers adapt to a rapidly changing economy, Barack Obama would update the existing system of trade adjustment assistance by extending it to service industries, creating flexible education accounts that workers could use to retrain, and providing retraining assistance for workers in sectors of the economy vulnerable to dislocation before they lose their jobs.

Support Small Businesses

There are approximately 25.8 million businesses in the United States and 99.7 percent of all employers are small businesses. Barack Obama will help these businesses by cutting their health care costs, improving their access to capital and investing in innovation and development.

* Fix our Health Care Crisis for Small Businesses: Nearly 47 million Americans have no health coverage today. Skyrocketing health care costs are making it increasingly difficult for employers, particularly small businesses, to provide health insurance to their employees. Barack Obama’s health care plan will help small businesses that want to cover their employees by letting small firms buy into a new low-cost, high-quality national health plan similar to the one offered to members of Congress. For small businesses, having a single employee with catastrophic expenditures can make insurance unaffordable to all of the workers in the firm. The Obama plan would reimburse employer health plans for a portion of the catastrophic costs they incur above a threshold if they use the savings to reduce the cost of workers’ premiums. It is estimated that Obama’s health plan will save businesses $140 billion annually in insurance premiums.

* Reduce the Self-Employment Tax: Obama’s “Making Work Pay” tax credit will also provide relief to self-employed small business owners who struggle to pay both the employee and employer portion of the payroll tax. The tax credit offsets some of this self-employment tax.

* Eliminate Capital Gains Taxation on Start-Up Businesses: Obama will also eliminate the capital gains taxation of start-up businesses to encourage innovation and job creation. These provisions, combined with reducing the self-employment tax for small business measures, will ensure that the corporate tax code is not only fair, but also promotes continued economic growth and innovation.

* Expand Loan Programs for Small Businesses: Access to capital is a top concern among small business owners. Barack Obama cosponsored the bipartisan Small Business Lending Reauthorization and Improvements Act. This bill expands the Small Business Administration’s loan and micro-loan programs which provide start-up and long-term financing that small firms cannot receive through normal channels. Obama will work to help more entrepreneurs get loans, expand the network of lenders, and simplify the loan approval process.

Invest in American Innovation

* Invest in the Sciences: Barack Obama supports doubling federal funding for basic research. As a share of the Gross Domestic Product, American federal investment in the physical sciences and engineering research has dropped by half since 1970. Yet, it often has been federally-supported basic research that has generated the innovation to create markets and drive economic growth. For example, one recent report demonstrated how federally supported research in fiber optics and lasers helped spur the telecommunications revolution.

* Make the R&D Tax Credit Permanent: Barack Obama wants investments in a skilled research and development workforce and technology infrastructure to be supported here in America so that American workers and communities will benefit. Obama wants to make the Research and Development tax credit permanent so that firms can rely on it when making decisions to invest in domestic R&D over multi-year timeframes.

* Deploy Next-Generation Broadband: Barack Obama believes that America should lead the world in broadband penetration and Internet access. He believes we can get true broadband to every community in America through a combination of reform of the Universal Service Fund, better use of the nation’s wireless spectrum, promotion of next-generation facilities, technologies and applications, and new tax and loan incentives. Full broadband penetration can enhance competition, provide economic growth, and bring significant consumer benefits. Obama has supported Chicago’s citywide wireless broadband initiative and believes national policy should support state, local, and public-private partnerships as well as private efforts to make high speed access to the Internet available to all Americans. As a key step to achieving full broadband access, Obama believes the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) should provide an accurate map of broadband availability using a true definition of broadband instead of the current 200 kbs standard and an assessment of obstacles to fuller broadband penetration.

* Promote Digital Inclusion: The lack of affordable, high-speed Internet access in rural, urban, and minority communities has created a digital divide between those who have access to the Internet and those who do not. This severely limits the growth potential of many urban and rural companies. Barack Obama believes we can get true broadband to every community in America through a combination of reform of the Universal Service Fund, better use of the nation’s wireless spectrum, promotion of next-generation technologies, and new tax and loan incentives.

Address the Subprime Mortgage Issue

* Combat Mortgage Fraud and Subprime Loans: The implosion of the subprime lending industry threatens to bring foreclosure to over two million households, including many families with children. Barack Obama has been closely monitoring this situation for years, and introduced comprehensive legislation over a year ago to fight mortgage fraud and protect consumers against abusive lending practices. Obama’s STOP FRAUD Act provides the first federal definition of mortgage fraud, increases funding for federal and state law enforcement programs, creates new criminal penalties for mortgage professionals found guilty of fraud, and requires industry insiders to report suspicious activity. This bill also provides counseling to homeowners and tenants to avoid foreclosures. Finally, Obama’s bill requires the Government Accountability Office to evaluate and report to Congress on various state lending practices so that state regulations that undermine consumer’s rights can be identified and hopefully eliminated.

* Create Fund to Help Homeowners Avoid Foreclosures:

In addition to taking important steps to prevent mortgage fraud from occurring in the future, Barack Obama will establish policies to help Americans currently facing foreclosure through no fault of their own. For instance, in communities where there are many foreclosures property values of innocent homeowners are often also negatively impacted, driving them toward foreclosure, too.

Obama will create a fund to help people refinance their mortgages and provide comprehensive supports to innocent homeowners. The fund will also assist individuals who purchased homes that are simply too expensive for their income levels by helping to sell their homes. The fund will help offset costs of selling a home, including helping low-income borrowers get additional time and support to pay back any losses from the sale of their home and waiving certain federal, state and local income taxes that result from an individual selling their home to avoid foreclosure. These steps will ensure that individuals who have to sell their homes will be able to quickly regain stable financial footing. The fund will be partially paid for by Obama’s increased penalties on lenders who acted irresponsibly and committed fraud.
* Create a Credit Card Rating System to Improve Disclosure:Barack Obama will create a credit card rating system, modeled on five-star systems used for other consumer products, to provide consumers an easily identifiable ranking of credit cards. Under the Obama plan, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will assess the degree to which credit cards meet consumer-friendly standards. The FTC will test for a set of credit card features that are deemed the most dangerous for consumers, including the underwriting standards used to issue the card, the card’s interest rate spread between the introductory rate and the maximum rate allowed, and transaction fees. The FTC will assign ratings so that consumers can easily understand if a credit card agreement meets or exceeds standards of safety. Credit card companies will be required to display the rating on all application and contract materials, enabling consumers to quickly understand all of the major provisions of a credit card without having to rely exclusively on fine print in lengthy documents. Credit card companies will also be required to disclose in simplified, clear language all of the major features of the card in addition to their FTC rating to provide consumers with additional information to compare credit card products.

* Establish a Credit Card Bill of Rights to Protect Consumers: Credit cards could turn into the next subprime market crisis. In addition to being able to easily understand how risky a given credit card is, every American should have a uniform set of rights while dealing with credit card companies, no matter their financial status or credit history. To protect those rights, Barack Obama will require the Federal Trade Commission to analyze credit card company compliance with these basic rights, and provide the Department of Justice with the full authority to investigate and penalize non-compliant companies. The Obama credit card bill of rights will:
o Ban Unilateral Changes: Currently, credit card companies can unilaterally change the terms of a credit card agreement at any time for any reason with only a 15-day notice to the consumer. Barack Obama will ban these unilateral changes in credit card agreements unless companies have obtained written consent from consumers and have followed the rules and terms of the agreement.
o Apply Interest Rate Increases Only to Future Debt: Credit card companies often apply increased interest rates to both new debt incurred by the cardholder, as well as previously incurred debt. Barack Obama will require increased interest rates to apply only to future credit card debt, and not to debt incurred prior to the increase.
o Prohibit Interest on Fees: Credit card companies often charge interest on transaction fees, such as late fees or paying a bill by telephone. Barack Obama will prohibit credit card issuers from charging interest on transaction fees.
o Prohibit ”Universal Defaults”: ”Universal defaults” are a practice in which a credit card company raises an individual’s interest rate based on failure to pay a different creditor on time. Barack Obama will prohibit this practice.
o Require Prompt and Fair Crediting of Cardholder Payments: Barack Obama will require credit card issuers to apply payments first to the credit card balance with the highest rate of interest and to minimize finance charges.

Level the Playing Field for American Businesses

* Make the Corporate Tax Code More Fair and Efficient: The tax code is filled with corporate loopholes and preferential regulations that benefit a handful of companies at the expense of the rest of the business community as well as ordinary people who are hit with higher effective tax rates. Some large companies have managed to secure tax breaks or to hide their profits in overseas tax havens and not pay any American corporate taxes at all. Barack Obama will level the playing field for all businesses by eliminating special interest loopholes and deductions, such as those for the oil and gas industry, as well as by limiting the ability of large multi-national corporations to use tax havens to hide income overseas. He will firmly institutionalize the economic substance doctrine so we can stop companies from creating abusive tax shelters.

* Crack Down on Offshore Tax Havens: Obama will also crack down on the offshore tax havens engaged in shielding tax evaders from justice by refusing to share tax information with us the way all other nations do. This costs us tens of billions of dollars every year. Obama will create an International Tax Evasion Watch List to monitor these countries and will use economic pressure to make them comply. And Obama will penalize any company that reports income from tax havens on the list.

* Eliminate Taxes on Investments in Start-Ups and Small Businesses: Obama will also eliminate the capital gains taxation of start-up businesses to encourage innovation and job creation. These provisions, combined with reducing the self-employment tax for small business measures, will ensure that the corporate tax code is not only fair, but also promotes continued economic growth and innovation.

Create a Climate that Promotes Business Innovation

* Promote a Regulatory Environment that Enhances Competitiveness: It is important that the U.S. have a robust regulatory system that protects consumers and investors without preventing legal and appropriate entrepreneurial activity. Obama will make sure regulation properly addresses these issues.

* Ensure Competitive Markets: Barack Obama believes we need a business and regulatory landscape in which entrepreneurs and small businesses can thrive, start-ups can launch, and all enterprises can compete effectively – while investors and consumers are protected against bad actors that cross the line. Obama supports the principles behind Sarbanes-Oxley reforms and believes compliance should not be overly burdensome for smaller firms and start-ups. He believes that, because of the importance of competition to our economy, the government has a crucial role to play in ensuring competitive markets.

* Investigate Potential Conflict of Interest between Credit Rating Agencies and Financial Institutions: Credit agencies are paid by the issuers of securities, not by the buyers of securities, which creates a potential conflict of interest in favor of issuing strong securities ratings. This problem was illustrated in the subprime market crisis in which credit rating agencies strongly rated subprime mortgage securities even as there were significant indications of large numbers of foreclosures and a weakening housing market. Barack Obama supports an immediate investigation into the ratings agencies and their relationships to securities’ issuers, similar to the investigation the EU has recently announced.

* Protect Intellectual Property at Home: Intellectual property is to the digital age what physical goods were to the industrial age. Barack Obama believes we need to update and reform our copyright and patent systems to promote innovation and investment while ensuring that intellectual property owners are fairly treated. He supports reforming our patent laws and using technology to improve the quality of patents the government approves. Patent reform would promote enhanced scientific research and discourage excessive litigation hindering innovation.

Help Low-Income Workers

* Help Low-Income Americans Enter the Job Market: Obama’s commitment to helping low-income workers began early in his life. After college, Obama worked for a church-based group in Chicago to improve living conditions in poor neighborhoods plagued by high unemployment. Obama worked with a group that used charitable grants to assess skills of unemployed workers and help them find jobs. As president, Obama will increase federal investments into transitional jobs, which are a promising way to help chronically unemployed people break into the workplace. This approach places participants into temporary, subsidized wage-paying jobs. It also offers mentoring and social services designed to address the work-blocking problems like personal and family conflicts. Obama also supports funding for bridge programs that partner the federal government with employers and community-based organizations to identify job opportunities, develop customized training programs, and place low-income employees in better jobs. He also supports funding for apprenticeship programs and investments in community college programs that target adults looking to gain new skills.

* Create Career Pathways for Workers to Move up the Ladder: Barack Obama believes that all workers who want a job should not only be able to gain meaningful employment, but also be able to move up the career ladder to further support their families and serve as role models for their children. Obama has introduced legislation to help strengthen career ladders by first identifying regions and industries where career pathways are not fully developed and then establish public-private partnerships to lift up low-wage workers. Obama supports using the successful organized labor model of providing workers with additional skills and opportunities, and looks forward to working with organized labor to build more opportunities for low-income workers to reach economic security.

* Provide a Living Wage: Barack Obama believes that people who work full time should not live in poverty. Before the Democrats took back Congress, the minimum wage had not changed in 10 years. Even though the minimum wage will rise to $7.25 an hour by 2009, the minimum wage’s real purchasing power will still be below what it was in 1968. As president, Obama would further raise the minimum wage, index it to inflation and increase the Earned Income Tax Credit to make sure that full-time workers can earn a living wage that allows them to raise their families and pay for basic needs such as food, transportation, and housing -- things so many people take for granted.

Barack Obama's Plan to Provide Universal Health Care Access

* Fix Our Health Care Crisis: Nearly 47 million Americans lack health coverage today. In addition to the social costs of worse health, the health care crisis makes many American firms less competitive in global markets, and exacerbates our nation's long-term fiscal imbalances. Barack Obama is committed to signing universal health legislation by the end of his first term in office that ensures all Americans have high-quality, affordable health care. His plan will save a typical American family up to $2,500 a year by providing affordable, comprehensive, and portable health coverage for every American and modernizing the U.S. health care system to contain spiraling health care costs and improve the quality of patient care.
For more information on Barack Obama’s health care plan.

Barack Obama’s Plan for Energy Independence and Creating New Jobs

Barack Obama will implement a cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the level recommended by top scientists. Obama will invest $150 billion over ten years to deploy clean technologies, protect our existing manufacturing base and create millions of new jobs. And the Obama plan will reduce oil consumption overall by at least 35 percent, or 10 million barrels of oil, by 2030 to put America on the path to energy independence.

* Invest in U.S. Manufacturing: The Obama comprehensive energy independence and climate change plan not only help strengthen America’s energy security and tackle global climate change, but it will also make strategic investments in American workers and American businesses to create millions of new jobs. The Obama plan will invest in America’s highly-skilled manufacturing workforce and manufacturing centers to ensure that American workers have the skills and tools they need to pioneer the first wave of green technologies that will be in high demand throughout the world. Obama will also provide specific tax assistance and loan guarantees to the domestic auto industry to ensure that new fuel-efficient cars and trucks are build in the U.S. with American workers.

* Create New Job Training Programs for Clean Technologies: The Obama plan will increase funding for federal workforce training programs and direct these programs to incorporate green technologies training, such as advanced manufacturing and weatherization training, into their efforts to help Americans find and retain stable, high-paying jobs. Obama will also create an energy-focused Green Jobs Corps to engage disconnected and disadvantaged youth. This program will provide youth participants with energy efficiency and environmental service opportunities to improve the energy efficiency of homes and buildings in their communities, while also providing them with practical skills and experience in important career fields of expected high-growth employment. Participants will not only be able to use their training to find new jobs, but also build skills that will help them move up the career ladder over time.

* Boost the Renewable Energy Sector and Create New Jobs: The Obama plan will create new federal policies, and expand existing ones, that have been proven to create new American jobs. Obama will create a federal Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that will require 25 percent of American electricity be derived from renewable sources by 2025. This measure, which builds off what many states across the nation have enacted, has the potential to create hundreds of thousands of new jobs on its own. Barack Obama will also extend the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC), a measure which has been used successfully for years by American farmers and investors to increase renewable energy production and create new local jobs.

The Obama plan will also enact bold new energy efficiency goals for buildings and appliances, which will both reduce middle class American’s monthly electricity bills and help jumpstart the construction and manufacturing industries. Additionally, the Obama plan will provide tax credits for locally-owned biofuel refineries – which have already started to strengthen the economic vitality of rural America.

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